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BY STEVE MICHAELS R


ob gentile died — for six minutes — after a massive heart attack at his home in North Carolina. Doctors fi- nally revived him and put him


on a long waiting list for a transplant. Later, when his heart began to fail


again, he entered a clinical trial for a new device to keep it pumping until he got a transplant. John Mason, a 70-year-old retired


Defense Department worker, was diag- nosed with stage 5 kidney failure in 2016 and, because of his age, was unlikely to get a new one. Doctors in Virginia recruited him for


a trial that would give him a new kidney. But it came with a risk: The donor was in- fected with the deadly hepatitis C virus. Don Wymore, a retired police officer,


was in dire need of a lung transplant, but, because he was 70 and had other medical issues, was unlikely to get one. Then surgeons in Arizona told him


he could get a transplant if he signed up for a study on a “lung in a box,” a device that keeps the lung warm and function- ing much longer than the traditional method of placing a donated lung in an ice-filled cooler and rushing it to the re- cipient before it stopped working. Gentile, Mason, and Wymore are


three faces of the amazing medical breakthroughs and ground-breaking tech- nologies that are trans- forming modern medi- cine: People who were facing death but are alive and thriving due to dramatic innovation that is taking organ transplantation to new frontiers. They are part of the quest to increase the


52 NEWSMAX | MAY 2018


number of transplants across the Unit- ed States, shorten the waiting list for or- gans — 20 people die every day waiting for transplants — boost long-term sur- vival rates, and even make great strides in the relatively new field of facial trans- plants. “There have been some really big


advances in the last few years that can narrow the gap between supply and de- mand,” says Dr. David Klassen, chief medical officer of the Virginia-based United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). “For a long time, there were slow, incremental advances. Now, I think there is a lot more excitement about the potential to dramatically in- crease the supply and save more lives.” Experts across the country tell News-


max that major technological and medi- cal breakthroughs like the iVAS heart pumping system, hepatitis C trials, and devices like lung in a box have allowed surgeons to use organs that once were discarded. They also cite advances in the rela-


“NOBODY FIXES A BROKEN RADIATOR IN A CAR ANYMORE; YOU BUY A NEW RADIATOR. THE MEDICAL WORLD IS HEADING IN THAT


DIRECTION.”


tively new technique of warm perfusion — pumping organs with warm blood outside the body — which preserves organs longer and has increased the supply, and better immunosuppressant drugs that help transplant patients fight off rejections and live longer. Those new meth-


ods, along with policy changes on transplant criteria and an increase in using organs from de- ceased donors, especial- ly people who died from drug overdoses, have helped cut the waiting list and increase the number of transplants over the last five years. And experts believe


NUPULSE IVAS SURGERY Doctors at University of Chicago Medicine perform a procedure that will hook up a potential transplant patient to an intravascular ventricular assist system (iVAS) that will keep a diseased heart pumping until a donor organ is found.


P.50: NO FACE/HANS NELEMA/GETTY IMAGES / P.52: ICONS/FREEPIK


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